Disorderly Conduct in Arizona (A.R.S. §13-2904)

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In Arizona, per A.R.S. §13-2904 “Disorderly Conduct” occurs when a person:

  • Disturbs the peace or quiet of a neighborhood, family or person by engaging in fighting, violent or seriously disruptive behavior
  • Makes unreasonable noise
  • Uses abusive or offensive language or gestures to any person present in a manner likely to provoke immediate physical retaliation of such person
  • Makes any protracted commotion, utterance, or display with the intent to prevent the transaction of business of a lawful meeting, gathering, or procession
  • Refuses to obey a lawful order to disperse issued to maintain public safety in dangerous proximity to a fire, hazard or any other emergency
  • Recklessly handles, displays or discharges a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument (i.e., a gun).

Watch this short video where David explains Felony Disorderly Conduct in Arizona:

Is Disorderly conduct a misdemeanor or felony in Arizona? Disorderly conduct in Arizona is always a misdemeanor unless a deadly weapon or harmful instrument is used like a gun, or a knife, then it becomes a disorderly conduct felony charge.

Many times people think of this charge as “Drunk and Disorderly,” or when a couple has a loud argument to the point where the neighbors call the police. Disorderly conduct charges also cover fighting, being abusive, disturbing the peace or in tandem with resisting arrest charges. If any of these situations apply to you, give us a call, we’ve had success in getting disorderly conduct charges reduced, or dropped altogether depending on the circumstances.

Possible Punishment for Disorderly Conduct

If the crime involves the handling, display or discharge of a gun, it is charged as a class six (6) felony. In addition, it will also be charged with an “Allegation of Dangerousness” for the use of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument. A first offense “Dangerous Felony” includes a mandatory minimum prison sentence of one and one half (1.5) years, a presumptive prison term of two and one quarter (2.25) years, and a maximum of three (3) years of incarceration. In addition, if the person has one (1) allegeable historical dangerous prior felony conviction, then the mandatory “prison only” sentence is three (3) years minimum, three and three quarters (3.75) years presumptive, and four and one half (4.5) years maximum of incarceration. If the person has two (2) allegeable historical dangerous prior felony convictions, then the mandatory minimum is four and one half (4.5) years, the presumptive is five and one quarter (5.25) years, and the maximum is six (6) years of incarceration.

If the Disorderly Conduct does not involve a deadly weapon, then it can be charged as a class one (1) disorderly conduct misdemeanor. The range of punishment for a class one (1) misdemeanor is anywhere from zero (0) days in jail up to six (6) months in jail, and a fine of up to $2,500.00 plus an 84% surcharge, and up to three (3) years probation (which can include classes and counseling).

Possible Defenses for Disorderly Conduct

A Disorderly Conduct charge is not one to take lightly in Arizona. There are a variety of defenses a good disorderly conduct lawyer will use to defend you against a Disorderly Conduct charge. Which defenses are appropriate in a particular case depend on what actions by the defendant the prosecutor is alleging were a disturbance. This is a fact based inquiry that is required to be made on a case-by-case basis. One of the common defenses that can be asserted against all Disorderly Conduct charges is that the defendant did not have the required mental state: the defendant did not know, nor did he intend, that his actions were disturbing the peace. For example, the defendant was unaware that his neighbors could hear his noise or see any of his gestures.

An example of a defense that could be asserted against one of the Disorderly Conduct allegations involving a firearm is demonstrating that the defendant merely lawfully possessed a firearm, and was not acting in a “seriously disruptive manner.” Many times people will overreact and assume the mere presence of a firearm constitutes seriously disruptive behavior. It is important to interview all persons present at the scene of the alleged disturbance in order to demonstrate that the defendant was acting somewhat reasonably, or, even though their behavior may have been disruptive, it was not “seriously disruptive.”

Additionally, because our law firm fights conviction from all angles, we would assert a wide range of defenses and challenges to constitutional violations that apply in all criminal cases. The possibilities are numerous and diverse. One of those we frequently assert is a “Miranda rights violation.” In Arizona, the standard of whether any incriminating statement (i.e., a statement which tends to admit guilt) is admissible into evidence is based upon a “voluntariness” standard. If we can demonstrate that the police coerced you (i.e., intimidated or tricked you) into making a confession or inculpatory statement, or that they did not properly read you your Miranda Rights, then we can suppress those statements and any evidence gathered as a direct result of those statements.

In addition, the “denial of right to Counsel” is another common defense which is often raised. This occurs when a suspect is in custody and requests to speak to their attorney, but is denied and questioning continues. Other defenses may include challenging the validity of any search warrant, or whether there were any “forensic flaws” during the investigation of your case. Depending on what else you have been charged with, this could include exposing flawed procedures regarding blood, breath, and urine testing; fingerprints analysis; DNA testing; ballistics; gunshot residue testing; computer analysis/cloning hard drive procedures; forensic financial accounting reviews; etc.. Lastly, one of the most common defense tactics is exposing sloppy or misleading police reports which include everything from misstatements, false statements, flawed photo line-ups and inaccurate crime scene reconstruction. It is important to hire a skilled Disorderly Conduct lawyer to defend you who has knowledge of all the possible defenses to assert in your case.

Do I Need a Lawyer for a Disorderly Conduct Charge?

Do you need a lawyer for a disorderly charge in Arizona? The answer most likely is, Yes. Do you have a professional job (military, law enforcement, finance, real estate)? If you are convicted of disorderly conduct it will be on your record and can effect your employment. You may face the prospect of losing your job and any professional certifications that you may hold. If you are a student and about to hit the job market, then a conviction for disorderly conduct will show up on your record and on background checks.

If you don’t want a disorderly conduct charge on your record, then it is important to hire an AV® rated law firm (the highest possible rating by Martindale Hubbell®). Also David Michael Cantor is a Phoenix Defense Lawyer for Disorderly Conduct and a Certified Criminal Law Specialist, per the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization. In addition, the Firm and all of its lawyers are listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers®.  For a Free Initial Consultation, call us at 602-307-0808, or click here to contact us now.

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